WASHINGTON — Ervin Santana is set for his Braves debut at Turner Field on Wednesday when the former American League All-Star faces against the Mets in the second game of a six-game homestand.
The Braves scrambled to sign Santana as a free agent on March 12 after losing starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to season-ending elbow injuries. Because he missed the first few weeks of spring training he needed to continue building arm strength before joining the major league rotation.
Santana, 31, made a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday and was charged with eight hits, six runs (five earned) and four walks with three strikeouts. Braves officials said he pitched well despite the stats, with a few defensive miscues partly to blame.
He was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings last season for the Royals, and tied for fourth in the American League with 23 quality starts. Santana had offers from the Orioles and Blue Jays and was about to make a decision before the Braves jumped into the bidding and signed him to a one-year, $14.1 million deal.
With the right-hander added to what had been a four-man rotation in the first week of the season, the Braves’ pitching plans for the six-game homestand look like this: Aaron Harang vs. the Mets in Tuesday’s home opener, followed by Santana, David Hale in the Mets series finale, Julio Teheran in Friday’s series opener against Washington, Alex Wood on Saturday, and Harang in the April 13 homestand finale.